As China’s Investment Strategies Shift, African Partners Face Risks


When the China-financed Nairobi-Mombasa Railway opened in May 2017, it became Kenya’s largest infrastructure project and a high-profile achievement for President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of his successful bid for re-election.

The 440-kilometer line cuts travel time in half and promises to make goods drastically cheaper to ship. But by August, widespread administrative issues, including difficulties with ticket purchases online and on the day of travel, had stymied passengers, leaving some to wonder whether the project had been rushed to completion.

As operational issues smoothed out, deeper concerns emerged. The railway cost Kenya nearly $4 billion and may take decades to pay for itself. Environmentalists worry about the impact on a vast nature preserve, and an independent analysis suggests Kenya…

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